Monday, 27 November 2017

Study helps new mums via SMS

We always love a great idea, especially when it involves SMS.

A new research project run by the University of Western Australia pairs up expectant mothers with mothers who have been there and done that. The project aims to help new mums cope with mental health issues, which can arise during and after pregnancy.

The "mummy buddies" project pairs up expectant mums with a mummy mentor and they can exchange text messages when the new mum has a question.

The mummy project has already helped new mums and the UWA is still on the lookout for expectant mums and mentors.

More info here on Perth Now's website: https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/health/uwa-study-recruits-mummy-buddies-to-help-out-first-timers-ng-b88664073z

Monday, 13 November 2017

Using SMS For Events

Using text messaging for events can be a huge time saver, because people usually have their phones on them, so you can quickly send updates and get responses fast. Whereas emails can languish in an inbox for days!

Many of our customers use SMS Express to promote the event, confirm delegates and attendees, remind attendees about certain events, and for follow up feedback on how the event wenr.

SMS is a very valuable tool for helping your organise events and people.

Check out our SMS messaging ideas page for some more ideas on how using SMS Express can save you time.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

That YES SMS Kerfuffle

Did you get a text message from the YES to Marriage Equality campaign?

YES, me too. So how did they get our numbers?

The campaign director said they used a random telephone number generator, which raised a few sceptical eyebrows.

Yes these random mobile generators exist and they are usually in the form of an Excel plugin or program.

The issue with doing it this way is, yes it's cheap to generate the numbers, but it would generate millions of wrong numbers.

And even if they used what's called 'grey routes' for sending the text messages out (cheap SMS servers based overseas that are not plugged directly into Aussie telcos and can arrive at 3am!), it would still be a very expensive exercise and they would be charged for the dud numbers.

However, it is certainly doable and they may have got the SMS at a really cheap rate.

The other option for the Yes Campaign: buying a list of mobile numbers, which is not cheap, and then pay to broadcast to these numbers.

But are they allowed to do this? Isn't it spamming?

No it is not. Under the Spam Act, political and informational electronic messages are allowed.

Thankfully we don't get these SMS messages very often because they are expensive compared with email, and cheap (but usually more effective) when compared with snail mail.

It certainly highlights the power of engaging people via mobile messaging. We are likely to ignore an email, but a beep beep SMS? No way...we'll read that for sure.

For good or bad, SMS leaves mail and email in its wake!


Monday, 11 September 2017

Prices Are Down Yay!

Thumbs down is good news for our wonderful customers at SMS Express...

...we have overhauled our pricing for SMS and now rather than wade through a list of "pricing tiers", it is now a flat price of 8.5c INCLUDING GST.

That's for 1 credit right up to 50,000 credits. No minimum order.

If you want to go large, then please...ask us to down down even more!

And just to remind you that you only pay for outbound text messages on our platform.

Everything else is 100% free. That includes replies, sub-accounts, custom sender IDs, use of the Birthday Module...

Any questions, we also have 24/7 support: 1300 668 287


See you soon!

Friday, 25 August 2017

Keeping your phone charged during a disaster

Hopefully you will never need to use the following tips, but we thought they were very handy.

The article on Click2Houston has some advice from the Red Cross on how to conserve and charge your mobile phone battery during a disaster:

Conserve phone battery:

  • Leave an outgoing message on your voicemail that includes your status and location, and then turn off your phone.
  • Use SMS text messaging, which will go through cellular networks easier than a voice call.
  • Turn on “flight mode,” which keeps your phone from transmitting or receiving and greatly extends battery life (SMS will not work on this setting)
  • Disable or turn off apps that you’re not actively using to save the battery power
There's other tips on charging your battery...the full article is here: https://www.click2houston.com/tech/how-to-keep-your-phone-charged-during-disasters

Friday, 18 August 2017

Coles & Woolworths SMS scams

Scammers are now sending out text messages purporting to be from Coles or Woolies.

The scam texts trick people into clicking a link which leads to the scammer's site.

Scammers are probably using SMS because email is starting to become ineffective, and junk filters will pick them up.

Due to the great cut-through that SMS has, and no "spam filter" on text messages unfortunately means scammers see SMS as being more effective too.

The scammers also use a SenderID pretending to be from Coles or Woolies, which makes the text seem legit.

The frustrating thing is, anybody can spoof a SenderID and make it appear to come from any company, like you can on email.

So if you do receive an SMS like this, delete it!

Here's some more info here: http://www.smartcompany.com.au/industries/retail/coles-woolworths-gift-card-scams-prompt-warnings-fake-text-message-offers-increase/

And to keep an eye on scams visit: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/news

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

More women developers and a great app

Came across this story about the great app Baby Diaries which was developed by Tara O'Connell: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4790427/baby-app-grows-up/

Tara also has a great quote:

As a woman, there has never been a better time in history to start a business.

I couldn't agree more..and I suspect that there are a lot more women coders and developers than we think...we tend to hide our lights under a bushel.

Or we just don't need any "lights"..we just get on with it.

Tara's site is here: http://thebabydiaries.com.au/


Friday, 21 July 2017

Direct marketing - done well and done poorly

SMS Express sits in the direct marketing space,  and I love seeing how businesses market themselves, and not just with SMS.

Some businesses do it very well. One example of great opportunistic marketing that I remember is the time I found a fridge magnet on my Jeep driver's side door from a Jeep Servicing business...clever!

Even though I don't personally use a mens' urinal, a memorable "convenience" advertising campaign encouraged men to aim for the square sticker to uncover the ad's message.

In women's loos, we're in there for at least 3 minutes, sometimes staring at the back of the door, or on our phones texting while..ahem..you know..

Advertising in airport toilets can work very well, especially if you ask people to text you for more info, or give people your website address to browse while they're doing their business.

But sometimes direct marketing can be done very poorly and cost the business money and reputation.

Two examples that I experienced:
- Our business got an email from a trucking signage company in Sydney. Firstly, they probably bought an email list online, so were breaching the Spam Act by sending spam.

But that aside, even so...surely you'd look at the businesses you were spamming before sending your unwanted email to all and sundry? Poor form on many levels.

- And last week, we got a paper flier in our mailbox advertising roofing and guttering solutions from a business had the longest email address I have ever seen.

Apart from that, the street where we are in Prahran just off Chapel Street...it's buildings and apartment blocks..in fact most of our neighbouring streets are the same. Hardly any houses that need a roof or guttering.

So I called the roofing business and asked them if they might want to give their pamphlet company a huge kick up the backside..and after our conversation, that most likely happened.

I felt really sorry for the business owner who wasted good money on bad marketing...or should I say a bad marketing company who did not care about their client.

Whatever advertising medium you use, whether it be dunny door ads, fliers or SMS, or all media, think of your target audience, the timing, and does the message match the audience?

And if you engage another company to do this for you, keep an eye on what they're doing.

Friday, 16 June 2017

The Mobile Phone & Medicine

Using SMS reminders is not a new thing. But did you know that you can use SMS to remind you that you forgot your tablet? And I don't mean your iPad...a reminder to take your pills.

In fact, using mobile technology to assist us with every day living is becoming a big part of our lives.

Recently there was a fascinating (but kind of creepy) story about "smart pills" that could enable a text message reminder to be sent when you forgot your dose, thanks to an implant under your skin that could detect a certain enzyme in the drug. If this enzyme was not detected in your body, an SMS reminder would be triggered.

I cannot find any further info on this story so it may be been a pie-in-the-sky thing or a hoax...but I don't doubt the technology does exist!

Nontheless, if you prefer something less Orwellian, a couple of guys in the USA have invented Pillsy, which is a smart pill bottle that talks to your mobile phone via Bluetooth.

Pillsy can track when you take a dose, reminds you when you forget, alerts you if you take too many, plus you can monitor other family members' tablet schedule.

Pillsy is a fabulous example of how the not-so-humble mobile phone can seriously benefit our lives, plus offer a simple health tool, especially for an ageing population.


Thursday, 4 May 2017

Nasty Email Phishing Scam - Google Docs

If you get an email from a company or friend offering to share a Google Docs link with you, DON'T CLICK THE LINK.

A very effective, and I'm loathe to say, clever scam is hitting inboxes around the world.

The reason why it's so effective is, it appears to be a Google Docs.

But if you click the link in the email, you'll be taken to a fake login site which looks very real, but it has been built by scammers to trick you into giving over your logins and passwords.

If you do "log in" to this fake site, a virus then sends emails out to all of your contacts.

The scammers may send emails "from" a company or someone you know. If you do receive an email with a link, DO NOT click it. Instead, ring the company and ask if they did in fact send it...I'm guessing they will say no.

As far as we know, no emails have appeared to come from SMS Express, but no company is immune from fakers, and it's best to warn you just in case.

SMS Express never ever sends links to Google Docs.

If you have clicked such a link and feel your details may have been compromised, then change your passwords immediately, preferably from a different computer that has not been compromised, and if necessary call your IT person ASAP.

It's also a good idea to keep your anti-virus software up to date. We actually use 2 anti-virus and anti-malware programs.

You may also want to encourage staff and colleagues to never click links in emails unless you are absolutely sure it's real. 

Instead, right click to copy the link, and paste the link into a browser. 

Browsers like Chrome and Firefox offer good protection against dodgy sites. IE and Edge are okay, but we've seen a few dodgy sites that IE and Edge do not flag as potentially harmful, but the other 2 do flag them.

And don't be fooled by the green padlock or https sites that say "secure"! Anybody can get an SSL certificate and get setup in minutes!!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Telstra Desktop Messaging scam

We received an email today purporting to be from Telstra Desktop Messaging.

The email said our Desktop Messaging setup was locked temporarily and gave a link to click to enable our account.

This is a phishing scam designed to trick you into handing over personal details to crooks.

Our suspicions were flagged for 2 main reasons:

1: We don't use Telstra Desktop Messenger

2: When we looked at the link by rolling our mouse pointer over it (but not clicking the link),it shows a dodgy overseas address..certainly not Telstra!

The crooks can be very clever so it's a good reminder to never click links in emails unless you are 200% sure it's legitimate.

We've seen all sorts of phishing emails pretending to be from the ATO, ASIC, AGL, any bank, long lost relatives from an African country...

..instead of clicking email links that appear to come from a legitimate company, open your browser and go directly to their website.

Even better..call the company's customer services number and check.

..don't call any number in the email or from an SMS as scammers have setup phone numbers too!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Beware of SMS scams

SMS scams aren't as common as email scams..main reason being that scammers have to actually pay to send text messages out to their victims.

..and to add insult, the scammers sometimes use stolen PayPal details to pay for this scamming. Double scammers!

But SMS scams are very clever and it's easy to see why people fall for them.

Last week our manager received a text message purporting to be from Myer offering a $100 gift voucher. We're not on any Myer marketing lists, so our scam radar was spinning fast.

Here's the screenshot of the SMS:






You can see the link looks dodgy. It's not Myer at all..it's a scammer who created the domain Giftcardmsg .

Also the optout STOP goes to a landline number, which is another red flag. And the SMS came "from" MySMS SenderID.

If you get a similar text message and you think it may be legitimate, put on your sceptical hat for a moment, and call the company head office to ask if they have any SMS promotions on.

Or do a quick Google on the message content and see if anybody else has received an SMS that reads like yours.

A good resource to keep an eye on scams (and report them) is the ACCC's scamwatch website, which you can visit here: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/news


Monday, 13 March 2017

Facebook and Google Advertising - Where you are the product!

Once upon a time, if you wanted to promote your product, you could buy ads in the newspapers, or if you had the budget, ads in TV and radio.

But Google and Facebook have seriously "disrupted" traditional advertising by providing customers with a platform that can reach their target market a lot better than traditional ads ever could.

And the target audience is you, me, and anybody else who uses Google and Facebook.

You know the old saying that if it's free, then you're the product?....this article sums it up rather well:

https://theconversation.com/how-facebook-and-google-changed-the-advertising-game-70050

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

How to Hire a GOOD SEO

Are you sick of spam emails and calls from companies flogging "SEO"?

This means "search engine optimisation"...basically getting found in Google search on the first page.

There is no dark art to doing this, and a lot of people get ripped off by dodgy SEO snake oil floggers promising the world.

So where to for help? Google of course....some fabulous tips of what to look for in an SEO company...

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Cybersecurity

Unfortunately criminals are becoming way too clever, and with social media such as Facebook and Linked In telling the world what we do, and making it easy for strangers to "befriend" us, it seems all too easy for crooks to operate and affect our lives.

We don't use Wordpress, but love reading Wordfence.com newsletter, which is at the forefront of cybersecurity.

The latest newsletter makes for sober reading when you see how easy it is for crooks to "hack" our lives.

It's a long article but I highly recommend it..there's some great tips on keeping your data safe and being a little more careful with what we do online.

The article is here

Sunday, 29 January 2017

How to tidy up names in your excel spreadsheet before importing

More Excel Tips and Tricks

We've posted 2 new videos to our SMS Express Help Centre, that shows you two handy little tricks with Excel spreadsheets to tidy up your data.

1) Tidying up the "case" of names in your data.

Does your data have a column of names that looks like this:
JOHN
chris
TErRi


We'll show you how to change it to:
John
Chris

Terri 

Visit the Help Centre

2) Split off Firstname Lastname in excel spreadsheet into separate columns.


You want to send a personalised SMS to your customers, but your list has firstname and lastname in the same cell in Excel?

For example:

How to separate firstname & lastname in Excel












..but you want this so you only personalise with their firstname:

How to separate firstname lastname in Excel
 










Visit the Help Centre and see how

Thursday, 5 January 2017

The Green Padlock - what does it mean?

You may have noticed a lot of websites have a green padlock in the address bar just before the http bit.

You'll also notice the http is actually https which means you are viewing a secure website via a SSL Certificate.

Google is encouraging all of us website owners to make our sites secure for our visitors....and just today I noticed that in Chrome browsers, the word Secure sits next to the green padlock icon.

Here's an example: 





That is a huge incentive to get SSL.

If you have no idea what this means, ask your webhost provider for info (or Google it!) what they charge for an SSL certificate.

Many webhosting companies now offer them as part of your package, and some may charge hundres of dollars to have it installed.

Panthur.com.au and ventraip.com.au are 2 Aussie hosts that are very reliable and offer SSL as part of their package plans. Plus many of the huge hosts like GoDaddy.com also offer SSL.

You don't need to do ecommerce to have SSL. Any site that has a contact form should also use SSL.

Not only does Google potentially use this is a ranking signal, if your competitors have SSL and you don't, you may be losing business to them.

Having a secure site for your visitors using their mobile phone to browse your site is also very important as it offers them extra security when on your website.